In today’s climate, any responsible employer knows that complaints of inappropriate or threatening behavior must be taken seriously. To do otherwise opens an organization to potentially crippling litigation.
That’s bad enough when you’re just trying to make money in a business. In the context of a political campaign, it also threatens the viability of your candidate. You might think someone working for Donald Trump would have taken that to heart. But you’d be wrong, according to allegations in a suit filed by a former Trump staffer on Wednesday. From Politico:
Vincent Bordini, who is identified as “a dedicated, loyal Trump Campaign staffer” in the suit, accused Earl Phillip [Trump’s North Carolina state director] of pulling a gun on him in February.
“It happened in Phillip’s Jeep,” the complaint alleges. “Phillip was driving and Vincent was in the passenger seat. Phillip produced a pistol, put his right index finger on the trigger, and drove the barrel into Vincent’s knee cap.”
The .45-caliber pistol was loaded and the safety was off, the complaint said, noting that had the two hit a bump in the road, a bullet hole, at minimum, would have been the result.
Bordini clams in the complaint that at least five other individuals were subjected to similar incidents involving Phillip. Bordini claims to have reported the encounter to then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. But the campaign did not address it, and Phillip remained employed by them at the time the complaint was filed.
This wouldn’t look good in the best of contexts. With the Trump campaign, it comes alongside a recent gaffe where the candidate suggested “Second Amendment people… might do something” in response to Hillary Clinton appointing a gun control proponent to the Supreme Court. It feeds into the narrative of Trump as a reckless and irresponsible candidate, and the broader narrative of Republicans as gun nuts who properly ought to be restrained. It’s another unforced error, which could have been easily avoided, from a campaign which collects such errors as though they had hidden value.